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Computer overhaul moves forward

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  After a much-publicized breakdown in the last decade, Governor Scott Walker's people are moving forward with a massive overhaul of the state government's computer systems. It may sound like inside politics, but everyday taxpayers have a big stake financial stake in this.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the replacements of 120 state computer systems could end up saving $100-million in reduced maintenance costs and higher efficiency over a decade. Former Governor Jim Doyle suspended the program six years ago, in part due to over-optimistic savings' estimates that were five times the current estimates. Officials have worked since 2011 to revive the computer upgrades, saying they're long overdue for things like keeping trade of government assets and paying state workers on time.

Auditors called for legislative oversight back in 2007, but the Journal Sentinel says there has not been much of that -- even to this day. Senate Republican Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls co-chairs a joint legislative information technology committee which has not met in at least six years. She says she's planning hearings about the state's computer system, which is now called State Transforming Agency Resources, or STAR. The program has spent around $33-million of a total $139-million price-tag. It's scheduled to be completed in three years.

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